Memorial Day Message 2014

Tomb_of_the_Unknowns

On this Memo­r­ial Day we look to the words of Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy: “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it pro­duces, but also by the men it remem­bers, the men it hon­ors.” As Amer­i­cans, may we for­ever com­mit to reveal­ing our nation as one that holds true the mem­ory and full mea­sure of sac­ri­fice our nation’s heroic men and women have given to secure life, lib­erty, and free­dom for us all.

Memo­r­ial Day is one of our nation’s old­est and most sig­nif­i­cant hol­i­days, born solely of our shared Amer­i­can her­itage. Together, we recall the glory and sac­ri­fice of all who have set their per­sonal aspi­ra­tions aside for the preser­va­tion of our soci­ety. We owe an enor­mous amount of grat­i­tude to these men and women for tak­ing up arms against all ene­mies of the United States, both for­eign and domestic.

More than 1.3 mil­lion Amer­i­cans have per­ished as a result of mil­i­tary con­flicts through­out our nation’s his­tory. We spend our hol­i­day gath­ered with fam­ily and friends, ush­er­ing in the begin­ning of sum­mer at pic­nics and par­ties, but it is impor­tant we remem­ber why we gather on this day. We do this to cel­e­brate those fathers, broth­ers, sons, moth­ers, sis­ters, and daugh­ters, who gave all of their tomor­rows so that we could have our todays.

The brave men and women we honor today self­lessly gave of them­selves to defend a way of life where all peo­ple can deter­mine their own futures, free of oppres­sion and fear. Over the last decade our coun­try has asked much of our young men and women to fight for our val­ues and ideals in the Mid­dle East. This is why I ask that we all pay our respects to the brave Amer­i­can mil­i­tary men and women and their fam­i­lies who have made innu­mer­able sac­ri­fices in the ongo­ing Global War on Terrorism.

We must remain vig­i­lant against those who wish us harm and join together, as we have done so many times before, to truly build a bet­ter future for our posterity.

The res­i­dents of Water­loo, NY, started the Memo­r­ial Day tra­di­tion in 1866 to remem­ber the sol­diers of the civil war. Today we keep that cus­tom by plac­ing flags on the graves of the fallen and by pay­ing silent and pub­lic trib­ute to those who stepped well beyond the lines of fear, doubt, and self-preservation to uphold the free soci­ety that even our most des­per­ate ene­mies admire.

AMVETS has long made it a top pri­or­ity to honor our fallen heroes, whether it is through the estab­lish­ment and preser­va­tion of the USS Ari­zona Memo­r­ial in Hawaii, or the AMVETS Car­il­lons, which ring out at vet­er­ans’ ceme­ter­ies across our coun­try and around the world as a con­stant reminder of those who have given all.

As Amer­i­cans, may we never for­get those who fought for our free­dom, and may we cel­e­brate the lives of those who have truly made Amer­ica the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Today, of all days, we must reflect on what it truly means to live in free­dom. We must solid­ify and reaf­firm our com­mit­ment to our ser­vice mem­bers and their mis­sion. We owe all of our vet­er­ans, past and present, a debt of grat­i­tude for their sac­ri­fices in the defense of lib­erty. In the words of Pres­i­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln, it is the job of the liv­ing to “take increased devo­tion to that cause for which they gave the last full mea­sure.” We owe it to the heroes that died and the loved ones left behind to make sure that their sac­ri­fices are remem­bered and that their ser­vice to this nation always be honored.

May God bless our vet­er­ans and may God bless America.

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